Collections > Master's Papers > Gillings School of Public Health > Coordinating Services for Survivors of Human Trafficking

Human trafficking has gained increased attention from the medical community. One study reported that 87.8% of those trafficked for sexual exploitation had contact with a health care provider , representing an opportunity for health care providers to intervene (Lederer and Wetzel 2014) Recent research has emphasized increased awareness and screening by health care providers as key to identifying victims of human trafficking (Simich et at 2014) However once identified, survivors require comprehensive care to address short-term and long-term needs that ensure an individual’s safety, privacy and dignity. This study aims to understand how health care providers can improve utilization of resources that community advocates say survivors of human trafficking most need. This study performed a systematic review of the literature along with four key stakeholder interviews to understand 1) the needed resources to aid survivors of human trafficking and 2) how medical providers can better understand and utilize these resources in referring an identified victim. One interview from a community advocates addressed resources most needed by survivors. Three interviews of medical providers addressed knowledge and utilization of resources by providers in referring patients. Results exposed gaps in health care provider identification of victims and referrals to needed community resources. Difficulty with identification resulted from lack of provider training and time constraints. Having an established interdisciplinary referral system seemed to provide the best coordination of aftercare services. These finding suggest the need to have adequate referral protocols and partnerships with community stakeholders when identifying victims of human trafficking.